Originally published 2nd September 2013
It's a fabulous time to be a Leither!
This season we have been picking fresh, pesticide-free, locally grown food from our various garden clubs around Leith. As a consequence, we have not only been eating healthily, but also reducing our food miles, which reduces our 'carbon footprint'. Yes, picking food locally reduces your CO2 emissions and so helps tackle climate change. This is one of the reasons why Leith Community Crops in Pots fully endorses the work of The Fife Diet in their ground-breaking Food Manifesto.
We have been educating children on where their food comes from, and assuring them that it's not magic, that even in Leith Primary you can grow huge tasty courgettes, or delicious spring onions, or even tomatoes. We have been sharing food and recipes with children and adults in the neighbourhood, and generally enjoying cooking, tasting, and eating our yummy seasonal home-grown produce. Whilst enjoying ourselves, it is worth noting that this is also the very visible promotion of healthy eating - and perhaps the antidote to our shocking obesity crisis!
Dr Bell's cafe has, on the odd occasion, been using our beautiful salad leaves and herbs in their lovely lunches for families in Leith. Dr Bell's cookery school, working with Stanwell Nursery pupils, has been earthing up potatoes and cooking courgette-and-sage muffins - greatly enjoyed by the children! This too is having a positive impact on the way people eat.
Achievement While it seems that we are quite good at growing urban food, perhaps our biggest achievement is not producing food, per se, but putting urban food growing on the agenda in Leith, by raising awareness of its many benefits. We have captured the hearts and minds of the people who live here, and generated much excitement. The energy and creative 'let's-do' spirit is alive!
So what's driving this energy? Apart from the fun and health aspects mentioned above, it might also be the realisation that if we want to buy fresh local organic produce we have to pay double the price for it, and with families to feed this is rather tricky.
Saving people money whilst saving our environment - and improving the health of our diet...! Now all we need to do is trust that if we allow our new food revolution to grow, we might just revitalise the local economy. Perhaps this could involve local grocers, local Leith honey, and even some jobs that don't involve herding people like cattle in a till-bleeping supermarket where the only choice is between homogeneous, perfectly shaped but otherwise inferior (and environmentally irresponsible) vegetables, and expensive organic ones?
We love oddly shaped food in a variety of colours!